Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tyranny of Tradition

Once again,
We find ourselves enmeshed in the Holiday Season. That special time of the year when we join with those we love and share centuries-old traditions such as food and alcohol consumption, singing Yuletide Carols with strangers, maxing-out our credit cards, and lest we forget, the tradition of trying to find a parking space at the mall. Traditionally, we drive around the parking lot until a shopper emerges, then we follow her, much the same way the 3 Wise Men, more than 2,00 years ago, followed the star until it led them to an available parking space.
And then, as if we didn’t slaughter enough turkeys in November, we hold true to the tradition of yet another turkey feast…I actually feel sympathy for the bird as I watch a family member slice into its breast... I think to myself, "It was once a lively, social being probably capable of affection especially for its young." And who can forget the traditional surplus of Christmas TV Specials? The meaning of Christmas brought to us by Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Anheuser-Busch. What a great mix: popular entertainment, product consumption and spirituality.
But by far, the most welcomed holiday tradition in my trailer is the Annual Christmas Letter (typed) from various friends-of friends who you met once or twice and who think you know all of their kids, grandkids, cousins, and neighbors. The following excerpt, taken verbatim, is from my mother-in-law’s banking colleague that she worked with briefly in 1979. They haven’t spoken in years; don’t write to one another either; Just the annual letter...

Dear Family and Friends,
It was a horrible year and I’m glad it’s finally over. Arnie and I were sick all of 2010. My back went out in February and I had to have injections. The doc said they wouldn’t probably work. He was right. Arnie was running after a squirrel he seen and slipped on his shoelace and fell on the cement. He cracked his rib and broke his toe. The toe got infected so he had to take antibiotics. I had more injections in March and April. Arnie’s sister died in April and that leaves him with five.
In May, my pacemaker quit but luckily I was already in ICU because of a seizure I had. My daughter and her husband thought we were paying too much for our TV and phone so they switched us to a different bundle. It costs too much and we don’t get anything we like so we aren’t going to keep it. The kids came down to see us in June but I didn’t feel like company, so they took the annual trip to the lake by themselves.
Wore black for three weeks because our dishwasher broke again. Warranty ran out this time. Arnie lost another sister in September. Now he’s down to four. I got a bladder infection last month and it wouldn't clear up. Doc says I had a reaction to this antibiotic. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Arnie and Gertrude

I suppose some traditions are just worth holding onto.
But I have a serious problem with the ones lacking in imagination.
Imagination gets in the way of many traditions but maybe that’s its job, its function. And if that’s the case, then creativity is its lovely assistant.
May your days and nights be filled with both creativity and imagination…now and always.

1 comment:

  1. Ms Jecker,
    I am happy to find you in the same corner!! Ms Ada is supremely lucky to have a mom like you! Thanks for reading and I hope to see you at Pet Express one day in the not so distant future!